Commercial, Industrial, Regulation, Sourcing Renewables  -  August 18, 2017

Renewable energy access lures Facebook to Ohio

Facebook Inc. announced Aug. 15 that it will spend $750 million on a new data center in Ohio, a location chosen in part for its accessibility to low-cost renewable energy. 

Ohio Gov. John Kasich joined Facebook at a media event to announce the new data center, which will be powered with 100% renewable energy, The Associated Press reported. Kasich has championed the state's support for renewable energy, and the large corporations that have been attracted to the state as a result, as economic drivers for Ohio. 

Rachel Peterson, Facebook director of data center strategy and development, reportedly cited several factors that attracted the social media giant to the location in New Albany, Ohio, which is northeast of Columbus. Among those factors, the AP reported that the availability of renewable energy sources was essential, and  Kasich underlined that fact.

"It is critical that we continue developing the renewables, because, believe me, at the end of the day, if the Facebooks and the Googles and the PayPals and the Amazons think that we are not committed to renewable energy, they will not come here. Period, end of story," Kasich reportedly said.

Amazon opened three cloud-computing centers in central Ohio last year, according to the AP.  

The state is also courting Asian electronics company Foxconn, which makes Apple Inc.'s iPhone and other products. Foxconn said in July that Ohio was one of several states it was considering for its first U.S. investment, according to a recent report from The Columbus Dispatch. Apple has a 100% renewable energy target, and has been working closely with its suppliers to align with that commitment.

Editor's note: Article was amended on Aug. 23 to add background on Ohio's efforts to draw new corporate investment in the state.

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